Hobby woodworking and family life

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Blog entry by jamsomito posted 12-01-2019 07:00 PM 577 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We had our third kid back in February and wow, what a trip. He’s been great, but this has probably been the most difficult year for me that I can remember. Between 4 or 5 sicknesses that seem to last for months, and not just myself but picking off every one of us a few days apart at a time just to make the misery last longer, starting a new job, my wife really crushing it at her job, and just the added work of another infant around… stress, health, and just straight up lack of free time have really kept me from doing most of the things I enjoy by myself (not that I don’t enjoy family life, I just need some “me” time occasionally, you know?).

But I finally made it back in the shop after about 9 months. It was a quick couple hours of cleaning up and cleaning my blades, but it felt so good to get some order back from the chaos. Just having things in a functional state again really helped lower the stress levels a bit and allowed me to start with the creative process again. My goal was to make it back in the shop to make some Christmas gifts for this year, and I did have a chance to start on that just yesterday. I’ll make another blog post about that project. I have a hard time finding words to describe how much of a stress relief and creative outlet woodworking is to me. I really don’t want to sound cliche, but it did feel like a part of me was missing for those 9 months.

The boys had fun playing with my scraps while I worked, and this made me happy too.

It doesn’t look like it, but everything has a place and it’s ready to go. The shop is very much a work in progress… plans for better storage systems have been on the list for a while – cabinets, drawers, carts, etc – ways to make things more accessible, free up space, and add functionality. With the limited time I have it’s really taking a while. But one can dream, no?

Found some rust on my cast iron surfaces, as expected. Thought it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. There were a few big spots from where my respirator dripped on them the last time I made a project in here. There were also a bunch of really small rust “nibs” all over the surface, especially on my bandsaw table that I haven’t used in a bit longer. The CRC 3-36 did a pretty good job, I’d say!

I made a quick cut on my crosscut sled for funzies and realized it was way out of whack! Of course I picked a 2×4 with the most massive knot in it as my fence on the jig. It had a huge convex bow right at the knot that threw the whole thing off. So I spent about 15 minutes or so putting a “band-aid” on it to fix the problem. Just screwed another board to it and shimmed in the right spots while eyeballing 90 with my square. Bummer I lost all the work I put into the 5-cut method, but this sled isn’t worth that much time again. My next one will be baltic birch, or at least some kind of ply. Maybe a little bigger too.

And that’s about it. I suppose moving forward I still won’t have the free time that I used to. Especially when you figure 3 kids in sports at the same time gulp. Family is important, and they deserve most of my time. But I think I found I need to be in here, and I need to make time for it, even if it’s just a couple hours a week.

4 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17230 posts in 3628 days

#1 posted 12-02-2019 06:16 AM

Raised four. Youngest now 18. Time to ‘do it all’ is fleeting, but you’ll soon figure out what works! Enjoy every step of the journey!!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View jamsomito's profile


628 posts in 1436 days

#2 posted 12-02-2019 03:43 PM

Thanks, Smitty :)

View NinjaAssassin's profile


656 posts in 2735 days

#3 posted 01-11-2020 11:37 PM

Just have to take it one day at a time, man. Taking care of family is obviously critical, but taking care of you is just as important. Glad you were able to get some time in the shop. It heals the soul.

P.S. 3 kids in various extracurricular activities at the same time is a lot at times. “Worth it” doesn’t begin to describe it, but Smitty summed it up precisely. You’ll figure out what works.

-- Billy

View Andybb's profile


3166 posts in 1614 days

#4 posted 01-12-2020 04:42 AM

Bummer I lost all the work I put into the 5-cut method, but this sled isn t worth that much time again. My next one will be baltic birch, or at least some kind of ply. Maybe a little bigger too.

- jamsomito

Glad you’re getting your sanity and groove back!

I’m no expert but I think the 5 cut method is overrated. Years ago I saw a Jay Bates video where he said he’s never used the 5 cut and just uses a long framing square on the blade after making sure the blade is square to the miter slots. I forget the decimal points over what distance but I get 5 cut results just using that method. YMMV.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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